Jacksonville ISD is releasing more detail about its pending purchase of Lon Morris College assets and land.
The district announced Friday that trustees approved the $1.53 million purchase of the gymnasium, administration building and more than 50 acres of land. That includes 10 acres around the gymnasium as well as about 40 acres in the area of the baseball and softball fields.
The purchase is not final until officially approved by the bankruptcy court, which could happen Monday, Superintendent Dr. Joe Wardell said. He expects closing to happen later this month or in March.
Wardell said the assets had an insured value of almost $6.7 million while the land’s value was more than $100,000, bringing the total value to about $6.8 million. In a news release, the district equated the purchase to getting a $100,000 home for little more than $20,000.
“We’re proud we’ve been able to do this and are not asking for a tax increase because we’ve done a good job with (the budget),” Wardell said.
“When the opportunity came along to get such a good value for taxpayers, we were able to take care of (some) things (for the district).”
Lon Morris filed for bankruptcy in July after its ongoing financial problems. In August, the college announced it would close. Attorney Hugh Ray III, who represents the bankruptcy estate, has said that changed the nature of the case, which went from selling an operating facility to instead auctioning its assets as real estate. JISD was a high bidder in last month’s auction as was local office supply company 11 x 17 Inc., which bid on most of the school’s academic buildings, the chapel and dormitories, according to a news release.
Wardell has said the gym will provide a place big enough to handle basketball crowds and also hold other events such as convocation. If the district built a new multipurpose facility — as called for in phase two of the district’s facilities plan — it was estimated to cost about $8 million to $8.5 million.
The Lon Morris administration building is set to serve as space for JISD administration offices.
JISD already was looking at a way to expand its administration space, and it saw the Lon Morris administration building as a great opportunity for taxpayers, Wardell said last month.
As far as the land, he said the district could use it for a new West Side Elementary School.
The money for the auction purchase will come out of reserves.
“We budget about $35 million, and every year we hope because we budget well and are conservative that we have a little bit left over so we’ve been putting a little bit aside every year so we had this in reserve fund …,” Wardell said.
He said last month, “Naturally we would have loved Lon Morris to continue there. It was great for the community, being such a long standing part of the community.